You don't have to give away the keys to the kingdom: Smart alternatives to password sharing
Passwords are like keys, used to unlock doors that open to hidden treasures. Consider the passwords you have and why. What do they unlock?
When you were given your password and the access it provided to Brown's information network, it was in support of your education and/or work duties. Your password is a symbol of the trust placed in you to act in a responsible manner when using Brown's facilities. In return, you are expected to practice "smart computing", which not only means that you avoid Internet scams and use anti-virus and anti-spyware to secure your computer, but that you also follow the most basic of the "smart computing" principles of not sharing your password – with anyone.
The truth is, sharing your password isn't smart, and doing so could place Brown as well as you at risk. Besides the University's policy against password sharing, there are numerous federal and local regulations and policies regarding access to confidential information. Sharing a password may mean sharing access to that data, and as a result, you as well as the University may be held liable (criminally and/or civilly) for this negligence.
In addition, your password is also a key to your personal information, and protecting it is perhaps the smartest thing you could do to protect your privacy. Think of it like sharing your banking information. Would you give someone else your bank account or credit card number? Not a smart thing to do, and neither is sharing your password.
The good news is that there are smart alternatives to sharing one's password. The following is a list of commonly given reasons for sharing a password along with ISG's recommended alternatives and instructions.
My Colleague/Supervisor receives many emails which require a quick response, even when he/she is out.
Create a Google shared account which multiple office staff can access (such as firstname.lastname@example.org). Publicize this address as your office's preferred contact on your website, signature blocks, letterhead, etc.
Have your supervisor delegate access to her/his email account. (Google Mail > Settings > Accounts > Grant access to your account)
4. Reason for Sharing:
I need to access another's private folder on a network share.
Request access to the folder. Depending on the circumstances, contact the office of Computing Accounts and Passwords (CAP) to request access to the relevant centralized file folder (Department File Services) container, your Departmental Computing Coordinator (DCC) for access to a folder on a local server, or if Biomed, contact the Office of Biomed Computer Services.
My Colleague/Supervisor gave me permission to use her password.
Determine why she wants you to have her password. Then, see the instructions above (#2 through #5) to obtain delegate access as needed to her email, calendar, or other services.
12. Reason for Sharing:
My boss wants me to keep the software updated on her computer.
With your boss's permission, arrange to get a "local administrator" account on her computer. (Make sure she understands this will give you access to any documents or data she stored there.) For help with this, contact the CIS Help Desk (email@example.com or 3-HELP) or your department's DCC.
13. Reason for Sharing:
I support a Brown faculty member, but I am not a Brown employee and don't have a Brown account.
Complete a Brown Card ID request form, indicating the need for electronic services. Then, become an email or calendar delegate, or obtain access to a network file share, as described above.